a-ha is a three-man band from Norway. They hit it big in the early 1980s with their first hit single “Take On Me”. “Take on Me” hit #1 in 5 countries on the music charts. They have had many albums since then, but nothing as big as Hunting High and Low, their one hit, if you will. I consider them a one-hit-wonder. Some would argue that fact. They can’t name me another hit from them though. Neither can I. The video that accompanied “Take On Me” is widely considered one of the best videos ever.
a-ha consists of three members: the lead singer Morten Harket, keyboardist Magne Furuholmen, and bassist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. These guys have hit the highest of highs in the music business but like a lot of musical acts, they’ve had their share of lows. “Take on Me” brought them wide acclaim and with that fame. Some musicians can’t handle the fame and fortune that goes along with it. These guys handled things relatively well, except that they didn’t always get along with each other. This caused various rifts over the years between the members of the band. That’s nothing new either in the music business.
These guys have been known as a band that people don’t get along with. They are notoriously a problem band. They have been through many producers in their careers. The real problem with these guys is themselves. They can’t come to an agreement on notes and riffs and so forth. They can’t even come to financial agreements on who wrote what and who owns what songs and so forth. That is the biggest problem. That’s pretty much why they haven’t had a path for their music. Their music is all over the place.
Despite the problems behind the scenes with each other, these guys were huge on the touring scene. Fans kept coming out in droves for these guys. Even though they really only have one song. They have played in front of crowds of 200,000 in Rio and 150,000 in England. When people still come out to see you play, that keeps your brand in the public eye. Between breakups, a-ha was one of the biggest draws in music over the last forty years. That’s saying something because there have been much bigger acts than them still around over that period.
a-ha has had some great things happen to them in their careers. They were one of the bands that helped make MTV in the early 80s so it makes sense that MTV would pay it back by having them do an unplugged. It’s considered an honor to do Unplugged by artists. Only the biggest acts get to do Unplugged. Another honor is being able to do a song for a James Bond film. They did the song entitled “The Living Daylights” for the film of the same name, not considered the best Bond film but not the worst either.
a-ha is a band most people, such as myself, consider a one-hit-wonder. The thing is they have had a lot of drama between themselves behind the scenes. That’s the part of their career most people didn’t know about them. Even with all of that fans kept coming out to see these guys 35 or 40 years later. They are still a great live band drawing huge crowds. This has kept them slightly in the public eye. At the heart, they are still that one-hit-wonder I love though. Anytime “Take on Me” plays on the radio, I sing along with it. That’s saying a lot.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media